Top five takeaways from FutureBook 19 

By   Hannah Bickerton 2 min read

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The whitefox team recently attended FutureBook 19, the annual Bookseller conference dedicated to exploring the future of innovation in the publishing industry. The day was packed with discussions of the digital, the diverse and the disruption of traditional publishing models. 

So, what can we expect from the publishing industry in 2020 and beyond? If anyone can predict the future, it’s the eclectic mix of names featured at FutureBook 19. Take a look at our top five takeaways from the conference for a summary of the most inspiring conversations that took place. 

1. Diversity and inclusivity are top of the agenda

How can we ensure greater equality, not just in junior publishing roles but throughout the industry, top to bottom? How can we make sure that every story is being told and every community is being included and represented? 

With almost every panel discussing the problem of D+I, every publishing-related organisation should be tackling these important and necessary questions or they will, in the long run, cease to be relevant.

2. Tradition isn’t everything

Innovative, exciting new initiatives, models and imprints such as OWNIT! and Merky Books are taking centre stage, not just at FutureBook 19, but in the wider publishing ecosystem itself. We can look forward to seeing a new generation of creative voices help shape the industry. 

3. The future remains digital

Although the conference itself is no longer purely digitally focused, publishing is definitely getting there! While physical books will always play a huge role in the hearts of readers, the evolution of eBooks and audiobooks has been a central topic at each of the ten FutureBook Conferences.

It’s not just about formats of delivery – Chris Duffey of Adobe gave the closing keynote speech of the day, and it’s safe to say that creativity and technology (and artificial intelligence) are increasingly becoming two sides of the same coin. 

4. Keep your ears open to audio

The FutureBook 19 awards included seven podcasts and seven audiobooks. That should say it all, and if it doesn’t, we haven’t been listening! Audio is the fastest growing sector of the book market and arguably the most accessible. Kit de Waal rightly noted in her powerful acceptance speech that audio makes it more possible for everyone to access stories, regardless of their individual circumstances. There’s only one direction for audio output in the coming years.

5. Don’t be boring

James Daunt opened the conference, but his message really wraps up the whole event. Whatever you’re doing, however you’re doing it, whoever you’re doing it with, make sure it’s interesting. Make sure it’s attractive. Be creative. Don’t be boring. 

So, those are our takeaways for the year – we can’t wait for FutureBook 2020 to see what’s next!

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.